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No cellphone signals during procession

Cellular phone signals will be jammed all throughout the Black Nazarene procession on Monday.

The Armed Forces said this is part of the security measures for the annual event that draws millions of devotees.

“All areas forming the route of the procession, there would be no signals. I hope you understand that it is part of the security preparations,” Armed Forces of the Philippines-National Capital Region Joint Task Force head Col. Llewelyn Binasoy said in a press briefing for Traslacion 2017.

Binasoy said they have not detected any security threat to the procession. “As far as threat level in the NCR, there has been none as of now,” said Binasoy.

He also said that flying of drones during the procession is prohibited. “We ask from the public not to have their drones in the air. We would want to give this fair warning to everyone: Part of the security is declaring a “no fly” zone during the Traslacion,” Binasoy said.

No garbage cans would be placed on the route of the procession.

“There would be no garbage cans and even the drainage along the streets would be totally covered to prevent IEDs or bomb scare that are intended within the route and vicinity of Quirino (Grandstand),” said Virgilio Martin from the Manila City Hall.

The Philippine Coast Guard appealed to the public not to jump into the Pasig River when the Black Nazarene procession passes by.

“We are really appealing to our devotees not to jump from the Jones Bridge while the procession of the Black Nazarene is underway,” PCG NCR Ensign Mizar Cumbe said.

Those caught deliberately jumping, he said, will be arrested by marshals while those who accidentally fall into the river will be immediately rescued and given first aid treatment.

Devotees jump into the Pasig River for “cleansing” during the procession.

Church officials said they expect 15 to 18 million devotees to attend this year’s Feast of the Black Nazarene, the highlight of which is the traslacion or procession from the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park in Manila to Quiapo Church. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)